Swiss Mystery: Solved.


By: Andrea Boknevitz: Customer Service Manager

Have you ever wondered “Why are there holes in Swiss cheese”? Well I have, so I decided to do a little research and this is what I found.

For more than a century it was believed that the holes were caused by a bacteria that gives off carbon dioxide. Basically, the carbon forms bubbles or “eyes” in the cheese, and when the bubbles burst, the holes are formed.

In recent years, the Swiss have determined that carbon is not the cause, it is actually hay! John Jaeggi, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin's Center for Dairy Research, compares the relationship between eyes and particulates to the formation of raindrops. It all goes back to what's called "heterogeneous nucleation," he says. "Rain forms around dust particles, and it's kind of the same principle," he says. "With these little specks of hay powder in that cheese body, that's causing weaknesses in the curd structure and then that's where the gas is going to form and get your eyes."
Over the years, sanitation and automation have made cheese plants much cleaner, and in return the holes in the Swiss have become smaller.
Whatever the cause, I sure enjoy a piece of Swiss on my Rueben sandwich! And remember, Winona Foods is your source for Swiss cheese. Give us a call!